The vintage recipe card for Sea-Foam Nut Squares was calling my name for a long time and last week I succumbed. I'm glad I did. These brown-sugar meringue topped bar cookies are so delicious, it's hard to figure why they never caught on. They have a lot of flavors and textures -- and they feed a crowd. (In fact, three separate departments at Henry Street Settlement, my place of employ, enjoyed the sea-foam bars and all raved about them.)
Start by making the base, a fairly straight-forward, albeit sticky, cookie dough.
Spread it on a well-greased (or parchment covered) baking sheet.
Don't worry if it doesn't reach the corners.
Next, start the topping. Whip the egg whites until they are firm and have stiff peaks. To prevent over-whipping, add some cream of tartar or a bit of salt.
Gradually add in the brown sugar, whipping after each addition.
Spread the meringue on top of the cookie layer.
Sprinkle on the nuts. I used pecans, but any nut would work well.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the meringue is dry.
Cut into squares while still a bit warm.
The end scraps are for the cook.
The instructions on the recipe card are very confusing to us modern folk, so I've rewritten them for clarity.
Sea-Foam Nut Squares
Preheat oven to 325 F
For the base:
1/2 c butter
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 T. cold water
1/2 t. vanilla
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1/8 t baking soda
1/4 c. milk
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together and set aside.
Cream the butter, add the sugar and blend well.
Add the brown sugar and mix well. Add the egg yolks, water and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk until combined.
Grease a 15 x 10 inch pan (or two 9 x 9 pans), but a lower-sided pan is easier. Spread the base mixture evenly, using an offset spatula, the back of a spoon or a butter knife. Set aside.
For the topping:
2 egg whites
1 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 c chopped nuts
Beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Gradually add the brown sugar, beating well after each addition. Spread this mixture over the base and sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes until the meringue topping is dry. Cut into squares.